(MENAFN Editorial) Author Naomi Klein and hundreds of others support Indigenous leaders protecting Indigenous title and rights from the Texas-based energy giant.
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BURNABY, BC, April 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ - Today Ta'ah Amy George, (Tsleil-Waututh Nation elder), Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, (President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, which represents more than half of Nations in B.C.), Chief Judy Wilson (Neskonlith First Nation in Secwepemc territory), and Chief Bob Chamberlin (Kwikwasut'inuxw Haxwa'mis First Nation) were joined by hundreds of others in a full-day blockade at Kinder Morgan's Burnaby construction site.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Penticton Indian Band, Syilx, President UBCIC
"There is absolutely no way that we are letting Kinder Morgan expand its archaic and dangerous fossil fuel extraction. Today we proudly stood with land defenders to send a strong message to Kinder Morgan, its investors, and Trudeau- we will not stand down and we will remain united in our opposition. I took action today for my children and grandchildren, and for all future generations, to stop the destructive, proposed Trans Mountain expansion."
The action represents the latest escalation in a growing, decades-long fight by Indigenous peoples to gain recognition for their rights and title. Nearly 200 people have been arrested peacefully resisting the pipeline in solidarity with impacted Indigenous communities since actions began last month.
The Kinder Morgan pipeline — and the tar sands expansion it would enable — are incompatible with the federal government's commitments under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and threaten to worsen the national crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).
Chief Bob Chamberlin, Kwikwasut'inuxw Haxwa'mis, Kwakwaka'wakw, Vice-President UBCIC
"I am proud to stand today and protect the land and the water and the life that they give. It is my duty to future generations. Tripling the size of Kinder Morgan's export pipeline for export by tankers to heavy refineries in United States and China is a direct threat to the fish and animals in its path and downstream. The Prime Minister needs to understand that this project does not have the consent of the Indigenous peoples whose territory will be impacted – and you can't achieve reconciliation without recognizing that you need our consent."
Chief Judy Wilson, Neskonlith, Secwepemc, Secretary-Treasurer UBCIC
"Justin Trudeau is saying he is doing this for the jobs and the economy. He is confused and he is blind and he has to understand. This destruction cannot continue. Our Mother Earth needs us more than ever. The salmon, the orcas, need us. They need all of us, because we cannot survive without water and we need to ensure there is water for the future."
This latest wave of escalation comes on the heels of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's tour of Suncor's tar sands operations yesterday. Trudeau approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline in 2016, despite his government's failure to obtain consent from Indigenous peoples along the pipeline and tanker route.
Author and activist Naomi Klein:
"The Indigenous chiefs who risked arrest today are some of the most visionary and principled leaders in the world. They are willing to put their bodies on the line to protect the land and water that are inextricable from their human rights as Indigenous peoples and from the habitability of our shared planet."
Indigenous leaders and people across Canada and the U.S. have promised escalating action to stop this pipeline from moving forward. International opposition to the tar sands project is on the rise, and opponents have promised to make sure Alberta Premier Rachel Notley hears that opposition when she promotes Kinder Morgan's pipeline in New York and Toronto next week.
Also in attendance, director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in BC Seth Klein, Canadian author and journalist Andrew Nikiforuk, also among those who risked arrest.
Supporters included author and activist Naomi Klein and bestselling author of The Golden Spruce John Vaillant.
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Following the estimated , hundreds of people have now been arrested taking action against Kinder Morgan's proposed TransMountain pipeline expansion project in Burnaby, BC.
One of Canada's most successful tech entrepreneurs, Tim Brae , was among the first arrested for refusing to leave Kinder Morgan's gates on March 17. He wrote about it here .
Early on Monday, March 19, a 70-year-old grandfather scaled and set up camp in a tree directly in the path of Kinder Morgan's clear-cutting activity. He was arrested and removed at 8:00 p.m. by the B.C. RCMP Emergency Response Team (ERT)
A former Trans Mountain pipeline employee was arrested Tuesday March 20. While she was being arrested
On Friday March 23, federal Members of Parliament Kennedy Stewart and Green Party leader Elizabeth May were also arrested while protesting the federally approved project. Another 58 people were arrested on Saturday March 24 before Indigenous leaders called for a week-long break for ceremony, before escalations would continue this first week of April.
Current opposition to Kinder Morgan's pipeline and tanker project includes the Province of British Columbia, the state of Washington, the cities of Vancouver, Burnaby, and Victoria and 19 other BC municipalities as well as 250,000 petition signers.
If built, the Trans Mountain expansion would triple the capacity of an existing pipeline network, allowing the company to ship up to 890,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Edmonton to Vancouver's coast. This also represents a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic and a substantial increase in international carbon emissions, which experts say would both increase the chance of catastrophic spills on British Columbia's coast as well as endangers international climate commitments.
Solidarity actions have also spread south of the border; on Sunday, March 18, kayaktivists Seattle.
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SOURCE Protect the Inlet